Will Nitin Gadkari make a difference?
Nitin Gadkari has taken over as BJP President. At 52, he is the youngest BJP chief so far.
In the first of his interviews after taking over, Gadkari said he would like some of the old guard like Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and Govindacharya to return.
Two of these are identified with the temple movement and Govindacharya advocates the ideology of Swadeshi.
Will bringing in the old guard help the party, which is struggling to get its act together after two successive general election defeats to the Congress-led UPA?
Or will it result in more of the same?
Gadkari is known for pushing infrastructure projects like the Mumbai-Pune highway during his tenure as the public works minister of Maharashtra.
He identifies himself with the bijli-sadak-pani discourse of governance, defining his agenda as the ‘politics of development’.
This is where many BJP leaders as well as commentators see the party’s future.
He has a clean ‘doer’ image but seems to be relying on leaders from the previous generation who are also the most recognized faces the BJP can field in elections.
Gadkari himself is relatively unknown outside Maharashtra.
He also intends to stay out of electoral politics for three years.
He has not won any popular election even in his own state, having been a member of the upper house.
Can the BJP be rejuvenated without the leader himself going to the voters and sharing his vision with them?